As Whitby was only established 40 years ago, it is a comparatively young village by historical standards, but Whitby does have some history which is well worth preserving and highlighting.

Whitby is built on former farmland owned and farmed by the Bradey Family, early settlers who arrived from the UK in 1840. Whilst in the UK, Frances Bradey bought three sections in Pauatahanui, sight unseen, off plans from Edwin Gibbon Wakefield, an enterprising businessman who managed land sales in New Zealand.

When he arrived in Wellington, Frances Bradey established himself in Wellington, and soon after travelled to Pauatahanui by horse back to inspect his land purchases.

This is the excerpt from his diary of that time contained in the new Pauatahanui history book by Whitby author, Helen Reilly, entitled “Pauatahanui – a local history”.

“We started off in a roundabout direction through the bush along the surveyors cutting till we came to the Mourie Path, and shortly after came to one of our own sections that the path leads through, and beautiful even land it was, and growing some of the finest timber in the world of Remo (may be rimu) and several other sorts and not too quickly studded or underwood that might be readily cleared…

“We walked down the front line of sections till we came to a river and we sat down there to have breakfast. As I was drinking the water, the surveyor said I had got a good right to it as it was my own. When I was crossing it on some stepping stones my foot slipped and I fell in on one side. It was very beautiful water and we had a beautiful view from our section of the Poriroua (sic) harbour and the surrounding country equal to any view from Greenwich Park.”

Francis Bradey was born in England in 1793. He was the son of Franciscus Elezious Bradey, who married Martha Hinks, of Staffordshire. Francis was the grandson of a former Chancellor of Ireland. He joined the Royal Artillery in 1812, and obtained his discharge in 1819.

Early settler Francis Bradey might not have been familiar with some of the Maori words but he was eloquent enough in his description of first exploring his new land.

So who was Francis Bradey?

Francis Bradey was born in England in 1793. He was the son of Franciscus Elezious Bradey, who married Martha Hinks, of Staffordshire. Francis was the grandson of a former Chancellor of Ireland. He joined the Royal Artillery in 1812, and obtained his discharge in 1819.

Francis Bradey arrived at Port Nicholson, Wellington on the ‘Adelaide’ on March 7, 1840 with his wife, Keturah Ross and five children (these appear to have been all girls, a number of sons were born later in Wellington). On August 25 the same year he survived a boat accident off the shores of Petone Beach in which nine of the twelve aboard the vessel were drowned. Fortunately he only lost his luggage.

Mr Bradey purchased section 932 Hansen Street and had shared interests in Section 489 between Lambton Quay and The Terrace as well as purchasing farm land at Pauatahanui (some 2,000 acres at Duck Creek). Their sons cleared the bush on their land and developed a farm, and large family homestead was built beside Duck Creek. They were frequent weekend visitors to the farm.
Francis Bradey arrived at Port Nicholson, Wellington on the ‘Adelaide’ on March 7, 1840 with his wife, Keturah Ross and five children (these appear to have been all girls, a number of sons were born later in Wellington). On August 25 the same year he survived a boat accident off the shores of Petone Beach in which nine of the twelve aboard the vessel were drowned. Fortunately he only lost his luggage.

Mr Bradey clearly had some standing in the new Wellington Settlement. On January 22, 1843 (the third anniversary of Wellington’s English settlement) he attended a “Tee-Totallers” (of whom he was one) event at Wilkinson’s Gardens, Oriental Bay. On May 24, 1849 he attended Queen Victoria’s birthday celebrations with its military displays by the 65th regiment. On October 23, 1856 he attended a dinner given by Samuel Skey at Barrett’s Hotel to celebrate his selection as a member of the Provincial Council for Wellington City. As part of the celebrations he sang “His Excellency”. He led an active life and held the rank of captain in New Zealand military service.

Following his death on October 29, 1864, Mr Bradey was buried on a hill he named Mt Pleasant, above his homestead on his Duck Creek run at Pauatahanui. In recognition of his military service he was given a funeral with full military honours including his body being carried on a gun carriage from Wellington, which took two days to reach Duck Creek.  A timber mill was built on the farm in 1863, operated by Messrs. Hurley and Carter. The timber for the mill came from the Duck Creek land and was used in the construction of Old St Paul’s. The Bradey family farmed the land known as the Duck Creek run until the 1960s.

His wife died on 5 November 1888 at the age of 84 and is buried in the same plot. The Bradey’s daughters are buried elsewhere (one in the Pauatahanui Public Burial Ground). The Bradey land passed down through the family until it was sold to the Whitby Consortium in the 1960s and the land became part of what is now the village of Whitby.

In recognition of the influence of the Bradey family in the Paremata and Pauatahanui area, there are a number of places named for the family including Bradey’s Bay, and the original Bradey boat – “Winsome” is still frequently berthed at Mana Marina where it is used by family members.

Today, this site at Mt Pleasant is a quiet oasis in suburbia. It is a pleasant location for picnics or educational visits, and some schools bring their student classes to the site to learn about the history of the Pauatahanui Inlet and environments.

Bradey Grave

The site provides a tidy area of passive relaxation and respite.

Bradey Grave

The grave itself has a story to tell which is of interest to young and old.